EnterpriseMerger and acquisition

Yahoo To Become Altbaba And Marissa Mayer Will Step Down After Verizon Takeover

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Yahoo’s boss is to step down from the board after its acquisition by Verizon, and remaining shell entity to be renamed

Yahoo will change its name if its acquisition by Verizon Communications goes ahead, and a number of directors will step down from the board, including CEO Marissa Mayer.

Verizon revealed last year that it would acquire Yahoo’s core business for just $4.83 billion (£3.86bn). It is worth remembering that Yahoo once had a market capitalisation of $125 billion.

Yahoo had been seeking a suitor for some time, but the Verizon deal has been placed into jeopardy after a devastating hack resulted in the theft of 500 million accounts.

yahooPost Verizon

Under the terms of the acquisition, Verizon will acquire Yahoo’s core Internet-related business, including the Yahoo-branded web portal, search engine, email service and news services, which are expected to be integrated with Verizon-owned AOL.

Once the sale of Yahoo’s core Internet business is completed, the remaining Yahoo entity will be left with potentially highly lucrative investments, such as its 36 percent stake in Yahoo Japan and a 16 percent stake in Alibaba, as well as a patent portfolio.

It is understood that this remaining entity will have no official products or indeed staff, but according to a SEC filing, once the Verizon deal is completed, the remaining Yahoo entity will be transformed into an investment company and will be renamed as Altaba Inc.

This investment company will be controlled by a reduced board of directors, after it was revealed that David Filo, Eddy Hartenstein, Richard Hill, Marissa Mayer, Jane Shaw and Maynard Webb will stand down.

“In light of the fact that following the Closing the Company will operate as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940,” said the firm in its regulatory filing.

The above named directors “indicated that he or she intends to resign from the Board effective upon the Closing, and that his or her intention to resign is not due to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” the filing reads.

The Verizon deal ends Yahoo’s 21-year history as an independent company, however it still needs be approved by regulators and is expected to be finalised sometime in the next three months.

Yahoo - Shutterstock - © Eric Broder Van Dyke

Failed Turnaround

Mayer joined Yahoo back in 2012 in an effort to turn around the fortunes of the company, despite some scepticism at the time that she would succeed.

It is fair to say that since 2012, Mayer failed to turnaround the fortunes of the company, despite making large numbers of staff redundant, coupled with other controversial moves, such as banning work-from-home arrangements for some Yahoo employees and closing down products and services.

Matters were not helped by the fact Yahoo had been seeking a buyer since its failed acquisition by Microsoft in 2011.

And Yahoo and Mayer faced more criticism last year after its competence in handling the aftermath of the theft of at least 500 million accounts was heavily criticised by US senators.

Six Democratic US senators wrote a letter to Marissa Mayer, demanding an explanation as to why it took two years for the hack to come to light. The hack actually took place in 2014 but only came to light in 2016. The senators called the company’s handling of the breach “unacceptable”.

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